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Council’s towering decision

Wednesday, 24th September, 2014

The proposed site Council may lease to Telstra for a new phone tower. The proposed site Council may lease to Telstra for a new phone tower.

By Andrew Robertson

City Council could find itself in the Land and Environment Court if Telstra fails in its latest bid to secure a site for a 10 storey phone tower.

The telco has spent more than 12 months trying to secure a spot for the unpopular tower so it can boost the coverage and capacity of its mobile network.

The telecommunications giant has considered 11 separate locations for the tower - which must be erected in a specified service area in the city's north - and rejected all
but three.

After failing to secure its first two preferred sites, it now has its sights set on the North Family Play Centre, telling Council that the area "appears to be the only possible
alternative".

A report to be considered by councillors tonight has recommended Council lease a parcel of land for 10 years with two five-year options.

Council, which would net $13,000 a year from the deal, will not be required to consult with neighbours because the land is classified as operational.

However Telstra has warned Council that "it seems unlikely" that residents would want the monopole next to a swimming centre, a children's playground and picnic area and near a high school.

Previous opponents to the tower have cited the visual impact as well as interference to radio and television signals.

It wants Council to consider the likely views of the community before "deciding at the development application stage to refuse the planning application on the basis of community objection".

The 35 metre tall structure was initially slated to be erected in the North Star Foodland car park but Telstra withdrew its development application after the site's owner decided not to sign the lease after neighbours complained.

Then a second DA from Telstra to locate it in Chapple Lane was rejected in July after Council received 27 objections.

The telco has six months to appeal the decision in the Land and Environment Court.

Telstra remains of the view that the Chapple Lane site and the telecommunications facility proposed there is appropriate in that location,"

Telstra representative Gavin Kimber said in a letter to the council.

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